Buying new mower-- Today

bus_driverJune 5, 2013

Wish I had known earlier that I must buy a new mower today. Help me choose a brand. Looking in the $1400 to $2000 price range for a 42 to 46 width of cut. Front engine rider with foot speed/direction control preferred.
AYP makes Sears Craftsman, Ariens and Husqvarna and so they are equivalent-- at least that is what I believe at this moment. If the price was the same, would you choose one of the AYP brands or the Cub Cadet? Who makes the Huskee?
In the 20 to 22hp engine choices, the Briggs is usually a 2-cylinder while a Kohler probably will be a one-cylinder. I always have liked Briggs, never owned a Kohler. The 2-cylinder will be the smoother running, right?
Your suggestions within the next couple of hours would be helpful. Thanks for your help.

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Repost of Slammer's Buying Guide...

1. Carefully evaluate the size mower you need and buy at least one size larger, given gate and storage door considerations. Work with reputable Dealers who can provide product choice assistance, product predelivery prep and aftersale service at competitve prices.

2. NEVER buy a mower from ANYPLACE that will not let you test drive same or at least a similar model. Ergonomics are just as important as performance and capability.

3. DO NOT base your purchase on price or brand name alone! Do proper research and find all of the available models that fit your criteria and haggle, save, or trade to get the right equipment for the job. Do not compromise! Dealer support after the sale is also important.

4. Understand your property and it's impact on your choice of equipment. Mowing slopes, obstacles, future landscape projects, winter use, attachments, etc. can all have a significant effect.

If you follow these three tips you will end up a happy camper with just the right unit for the job. If you disregard this advice you may end up with one or the other of the following problems:

A. Buyers remorse. Stuck with a piece of junk or simply a unit inadequate for the task at hand.


B. A teed off spouse when you start shopping for another tractor just 3 - 6 months down the road because you didn't buy the right unit in the first place.

Twin cyl engines are usually a bit smoother than singles. in the 20 -22 hp range kohler, briggs, kawi all offer a number of twins.

Good dealer is the key. stay away from the BBS unless you are a pro on L&G powered stuff. good luck

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 8:22AM
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I would buy a D series Deere or a Husqvarna product for an entry level tractor. If you are at Sears, flip the seat and be sure the model # starts in 917. Briggs over a single Courage in my book.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 9:52AM
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barncats(So. Maine)

Singles are a bit noisier than a twin - but once you engage the blades - they all are loud. If you are pulling a cart or aerator - the twin is often better on your ears.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 3:13PM
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Circumstances dictated the rush to buy. And I detest being pushed/rushed. Bought a Husqvarna 46" with 22 Hp two-cylinder Briggs at Lowes.
Had them stored out-of-doors ( we call it the big shed) out back, I suppose. The bag with the manual and other things was not perfectly sealed so all was wet but salvageable. My old 46" mower had three blades, so each blade was about 15 3/8 long with the deck front to back about the same. The new one has just two blades and the deck is large enough front to back to accommodate blades about 23" long. Not sure if I like that big deck front-to-back. Will know after some use.
Looked at the Sears website and the equivalent mower is priced higher- thus the purchase at Lowes. Sears may have an ad in next Sunday's paper offering as good or better price.
Need to read the manual. No choke control on the unit-- a new development to me.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 5:03PM
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Did some research on the Cub Cadet. The name has a proud beginning. Bought by MTD many years ago.An older issue of Consumer Reports shows a member poll indicating that the Cub Cadet has the highest rate of required repairs of all the reported brands. So did not buy that brand.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 6:11PM
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so... who set up the machine for you? Didja look closely at the wiring connection points for the corrosion already starting in the joints from the machine's outside storage? What dealer is gonna fix yer warranty problems? Didja level the deck? Didja chk tire PSI? Didja check all fluid levels? Didja do a full lube on machine? Wonder what shape the battery was/is in? Frt strg toe-in set OK? Sometimes the factory sets them different for freight purposes.. How about yer ground drive and deck drive belts, idler pulleys, etc. - all set up/adjusted OK?

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 6:35PM
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Been thinking about the big deck with two blades. 4 cutting edges.for 46" width. The 3 blade arrangement gives 6 cutting edges. Not sure how that will affect sharpening intervals or cutting quality. Raining today, same for Friday and Saturday. Probably no good mowing weather until Monday or Tuesday of next week.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 8:25AM
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******" The bag with the manual and other things was not perfectly sealed so all was wet but salvageable. "******

If you go on either the Lowes or the Husqvarna web site, you probably will find the manual in PDF format.

You will find that the PDF manual is very handy, as it is available on your computer when you have a question, not in some file cabinet in the other room.

If you need a page to do some work on the tractor, it is a simple to print what you want and not worry about getting the manual covered with grease or other materials.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 8:48AM
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I haven't complaints on the deck's performance - but they don't run as smooth as a 42" or a 46" / 48" 3 blade.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 11:18AM
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Some sources indicate that the Cub Cadet-- by MTD-- does not permit mowing in reverse. I have no children who are not adults and no pets. Mowing in reverse makes my work go faster and the AYP products do have an ignition key setting for the purpose.
Further research shows that the mower blade spindle/mandrel for the AYP family of mowers is the same for the 42" and 46" models. The longer blade stresses the spindle/mandrel more. And it is not a bit too strong for the shorter 42". So this may prove to be a trouble spot.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 9:11AM
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dunno who you talked to about CC's but they surely told you wrong. CC has the same RIO feature on the ignition - they call it REVTECH...have had it a number of yrs.
And good luck with that BBS mchine, do believe you'll need it... mho.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 6:26PM
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It is only a trouble spot when you whack something with the blade! Bearings don't tend to fail more from what I see. Sounds like you could use a 48"... HOP spindle bearings don't fail a lot. It takes many hours to finally break down and replace the lower bearing. The 4 bolt design mounts are sturdy all in all. They do break at times, but not with the frequency the old 3 bolt. Deere has nice round spindles that rarely break.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 1:26AM
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To satisfy any who have a compulsive need to know about my mower maintenance situation, I do have a shop 40 by 100, built mostly by my hands with lumber from trees that I harvested and hauled to the sawmill. The shop has stick, MIG and oxy-acetylene welding equipment, a plasma cutter, a 16 gauge 4" brake, a vertical mill and a metal lathe plus an 80 gallon, two-stage 5 hp air compressor. The larger door is 14' high and 20' wide. I have never had any mower repairs done outside my shop nor by others. Just occasionally I will do some mower repairs for others. No need to list the Bobcat skidsteer loader, farm tractors and dump truck plus the woodworking equipment and 6 working chain saws. So if that resolves that issue, there are other matters of importance to me
The terrain in this area is not flat! My yard is contoured to direct surface water away from the house. My AYP Craftsman mower from 2008 was not originally suitable for my terrain due to the seat switch which required that I be firmly seated precisely in the center of the seat with no weight shifting allowed. It was necessary to fashion a wooden piece to keep the seat switch depressed to use the mower at my premises. Removal of the wood restores the switch original function. Weather has prevented use of the new Husqvarna, but it is assumed that the same sort of seat switch attention will be required.
How have any of you dealt with the seat switch on the latest AYP mowers?

My previous mowers had switches that the seat assembly depressed. Thus down pressure on the seat would keep the switch closed, even if one was sitting nearer one edge of the seat.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 9:51AM
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Do you mean with the round disc switch? A small pad on top the switch can make it suitable for use so a light person can use the tractor. - yet the switch functions as it should.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 11:03AM
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Just completed looking at and dealing with the switch. Different from the earlier AYP. This one has the microswitch (4 contacts) under a big black button.
Information posted on another site about dealing with this particular style switch proved to be false. Still studying the issue.

This post was edited by bus_driver on Sat, Jun 8, 13 at 17:29

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 12:05PM
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Just a thought: I store my lawn equipment manuals in PDF format in my e-reader (mine is a Sony.) When I'm going to perform maintenance or repairs, I simply take my e-reader down to the barn with me, and have everything available on site.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 8:13PM
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